Chocolate Rolo Cookies

The next in the Christmas cookie series…

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

1 c margarine

1 c sugar

1 c brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 ½ c flour

¾ c cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 package Rolo Caramels

1 c chopped pecans divided

1 Tbsp sugar

Almond bark

Combine flour, cocoa & soda; set aside.  Cream margarine and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing well.  Stir in ½ pecans.  Chill dough 1 hour for easier handling.  Meanwhile, remove wrappers from rolos; set aside.  Combine 1 Tbsp sugar and remaining pecans; set aside.  Turn dough on waxed paper and form into 4 sections.  Divide each section into 12 balls.  Enclose a Rolo in center of each covering well.  Dip the top of each cookie into nut and sugar mixture.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Do not overbake. Cool on baking sheet a couple of minutes then remove to cooling rack.

Melt almond bark and drizzle over cookies.

Yield: 4 dozen

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The PhD continues…Spring 2012

As you may have noticed, until the start of the year, my blogging had slowed down excessively.  It might go without saying, but working on my doctoral program has zapped me of much of my efforts outside of work and the usual things.  I have not made the time to quilt, craft, read for enjoyment, or cook.  It’s been a lot of my general favorites and oldies-but-goodies when food came around.  But, eating on campus has been a priority.

It goes without saying that I am really enjoying my program.  A semester in, I still love my cohort members and have learned new nuances about each of them.  I am inspired by my sub-cohort and cannot wait until we go up the UP and write our dissertations in Bill’s cabin in the woods – minus the mountain lion that pries around there.

We’ve developed an extensive Dropbox where we share information, I’m exploring Mendeley to work on places to take notes and read articles.  I’ve acquired a second monitor to join my laptop and make for ease of writing.  All sorts of things are being done to work towards my dissertation.

All that being said, I’m narrowing down my dissertation topic, reading articles, trying to get ahead in class work, and generally having a good time throughout this process.  In fact, I’ve just returned from my time out at Colorado State preparing for the spring semester.  There may be occasions when I work out what I’m trying to understand on this site.  Other times, I’ll just keep using this as a way to continue to improve my writing and add some balance.  For now, I’ve just returned from seeing my cohort and I had such a good time with them.  It was great to spend time together and prepare for the spring.  More to come later, but working on my PhD has been a great decision for now.

Christmas with the Schimeks

The day after Christmas, the members of my dad’s side came together.  With Carmen, Andrew, and Simon coming to Minnesota, it was a good chance to get together and celebrate, and for the family to meet Simon.  We’ve had a few reasons to get together over the past few years and it’s undecided whether we will get together for any holidays in the future, but it was fun to spend some time together.  There were a few folks not present, but it was fun to be together, drink good beer (lots of Fulton and Schells beers were drank…) and a simple meal of sandwiches, chips, salads, and ice cream for dessert.  A nice way to end the holiday season with family was had.  And, with the younger generation being at that adorably playful stage, it makes for fun times as well.

Lots of shoes:

Kate helps me be a good aunt:

Logan doesn’t know what to think:

Kristin “the baby whisperer” cheers up Simon:

The women gather in one room:

The men in another:

And at the end of the day, the kids all play Uno Attack! (or argue over who gets to hit the button):

Grandma O’Rourke’s Chicken Huntington

Every Midwestern family has their own version of Chicken Huntington.  I’ve always been a fan of my cousin Jenn’s recipe, which she got from her Grandma Thelma.  Chicken Huntington is a casserole, or what we in Minnesota call a “hotdish.”  Everybody has their own spin on the casserole.  My special spin is caramelizing the onions a little bit.  The onions get a little sweeter, softer, and help to embrace the comfort aspect of this dish.  I made it when working on my finals because it let me work on my papers while also having a nutritious meal in the evenings.  It was a sign of winter, which was slow to arrive in Iowa this year.

Grandma O’Rourke’s Chicken Huntington

Meat from 1 old hen or 3-4 c leftover turkey

16 oz package medium shell pasta

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

8 oz or more shredded cheese (can use a can of cheese soup instead)

1 c chopped celery

1 med onion, diced

1 jar pimento (optional)

1 can mushrooms (optional)

1-2 c chicken broth

A little pepper

Cook vegetables in 1 c chicken broth.  Mix soups and cheese.  Mix all ingredients together and bake at 300-325 degrees for 1 hour or so.  You may need to add a little broth or water.